The Psychology Behind Reading Progress Indicators on Blogs

The Psychology Behind Reading Progress Indicators on Blogs

Lauren Lauren
5 minute read

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Unsure whether to add a reading progress indicator to your blog? You should, and we'll explain the psychology behind reading progress indicators. 

We’ll explain what they are exactly and touch on how they tap into the human desire for satisfaction and achievement, but more importantly, we’ll tell you how to include one in your blog.

What Is a Reading Progress Indicator?

Simply put, a reading progress indicator lets the reader know how far through the article they have progressed. Typically, it’s illustrated by a bar that gradually fills as you scroll down through the content. However, reading progress indicators can come in various shapes and styles, like tabs to indicate progress to the next stage or section in a form.

It may seem trivial, but there are many solid benefits to adding a reading progress indicator to your blog posts. You definitely want to jump aboard this train. 

What the Science Says

When you develop blog content, the core aim is to keep readers on the page for longer. When you do this, the chance that they will click on another blog post increases, and so does the possibility of engaging a new customer. 

Effective blogging is a real skill. While there’s no surefire way to keep readers on the page for longer, there are various things bloggers and marketers can do to encourage this. Reading progress indicators are one such technique.

Progress indicators have an element of gamification to them. Gamification is actually a really powerful tool to engage a user and involves genuine physiological reactions. If tapped into correctly, gamification can result in the release of hormones like dopamine, which is the good feeling you get associated with a reward. The reader will see the progress indicator increasing as they scroll through the article and are more likely to want to reach the end.

A study completed by researchers from the University of Michigan found that progress indicators can impact a user's perception of task duration and difficulty. In turn, this then affects their decision to abandon the task early or continue.

How Best to Use a Progress Indicator

Whether you’re starting a blog for business or other purposes, you want to get it right from the beginning. Using a blog setup checklist can be really helpful to ensure you don’t miss any crucial elements.

Progress indicators can be applied to a variety of pages, surveys, and forms on your website. They can appear following a trigger, such as when the user is about to leave the page, or can be static on the page. 

The look of your progress indicator can vary substantially. You could have a simple bar, a circle, or tabs that progress. What’s interesting is that scientists have found that the ring style progress indicator results in a better user experience and is more appealing. 

The DropInBlog Progress Indicator

DropInBlog is a professional blogging platform with a similar style to WordPress – only far superior. It is lightweight, has all the tools and functionality you require, and can be integrated with a variety of site builders and e-commerce platforms. It’s no exaggeration to say that DropInBlog has modernized blogging.

DropInBlog has moved away from the boring standard progress indicator bar and has designed a more modern ring-style progress indicator. Its size and location on the page are discreet and placed so as to not distract the reader unnecessarily but still be visible to do its magic.

DropInBlog: psychology behind reading progress indicators

You can insert a progress indicator into your blog posts quite easily by going to the Settings tab and scrolling down to Social Settings. From there, you just turn on the Read Progress Indicator tab, and the indicator will appear on your blog posts.

How to add the reading progress indicator


A majority of studies suggest that progress indicators do encourage users to continue with a task. A progress indicator in a blog has a way of tapping into human psychology and motivating a reader to finish an article.

It’s often very easy to add a reading progress indicator to a blog – it certainly is with DropInBlog.

With DropInBlog, you can choose to display or not display the reading progress indicator with the switch of a tab in your account Settings. 

Final Thoughts

The psychology behind reading progress indicators is pretty clear cut. The progress indicator symbolizes achievement and gives us a feel-good response whether we’re aware of it or not. It’s simple tricks like this that can help build a relationship with your readers and boost your blog’s performance.

If you have any questions about the DropInBlog reading progress indicator or need any help with integrating or setting up your blog, do get in touch.

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